X Close

LibNet staff news

Home

Menu

Archive for the 'Student Experience' Category

HE Libraries in South Africa

Simon PBralee9 December 2019

Three Librarians from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits) gave a talk to UCL Library Services staff on the Higher Education sector in South Africa.

Salome Potgieter, Kedibone Ivory Moagi and Devind Donald Peter came to UCL in November 2019 following a visit of a delegation led by the Vice-Provost (Global Engagement) in 2018. The talk was an opportunity for them to share their experiences and learn from UCL Library staff about practical projects that could take the Library and the Wits user community forward.

Higher Education in South Africa

There are 26 universities in South Africa, split into Traditional Universities, Comprehensive Universities (vocational) and Universities of Technology. It is a massive sector with a student population of around million (compared to 2.3 million in the UK). Since the end of Apartheid in 1994, the student population has doubled. The number of black students has grown to more than 80% of the student body and women represent approximately 55% of enrolments.

The sector faces challenges including escalating costs, a Fees Must Fall campaign and calls to decolonise education and remove symbols of the apartheid past.

Wits University

The University of the Witwatersrand is called Wits for short (pronounced Vits) and students are called Witsies. It is one of the oldest universities in South Africa, founded in 1896 and given university status in 1922. There are five faculties spread over three campuses. It is one of the best universities in Africa, ranked first in Africa (Academic Rankings of  World Universities 2018) and in the top 400 universities in the world. There are around 38,000 students in total with 17% postgraduate level.

Wits is focused on research impact. It competes globally and acts locally. One area they explore this is in the Tshimologong (“New Beginnings”) Techknowledgy Factory which is often described as South Africa’s Silicon Valley. Wits supports #4IRSA – the Fourth Industrial Revolution in South Africa – an initiative developing the country’s digital technology sector through collaboration between academics, industry and government. A notable project was the “Brainternet” project, which streamed brainwaves onto the internet. Researchers from the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre also developed the first successful liver transplant from a mother living with HIV to her critically ill HIV negative child. Both mother and child survived and thrived. Open Access research is held on Wired Space online repository.

Witsies have the Wits Edge. There are many notable alumni, including several Nobel laureates one of whom was Nelson Mandela. It also home to Bidvest Wits Football Club – the Clever Boys- one of South Africa’s finest football teams.

Wits Libraries

Like UCL, Wits operates on a decentralised model. There are 11 libraries over three main campuses. The Wartenweiler Main Library and William Cullen Library are housed on East Campus along with the Architecture Library, Biophy Library and GeoMaths Library; Commerce, Engineering, Law Libraries are housed on West Campus; and the Management Library, Wits Health Science Library and Education Library are housed on the Parktown Campus.

There are many similarities between us and Wits. They receive over 2,500,000 visits per year (compared to an estimated 5 million at UCL in 2019-2020). Like most universities they find that users are using more online resources and they have noticed a decrease in the use of physical book stock.

The service is currently undertaking a Library Skills audit and are exploring systems to support this such as LibGuides. Currently some courses like Health Sciences and Commerce, Law & Management have Information Literacy embedded in the curriculum. Info-lit is also part of the “Road to Success Program” for first year Engineering & the Built Environment undergrads.

Alongside this, the Library team are involved in a Reimagining of Library Spaces project which aims to improve the user experience with digital technologies. As part of this process, Wits Library have created a new Learning and Innovation Centre, which is open 24 hours. The space will enable face-to-face engagement with groups of academics, researchers and students with flexibility to turn into a space for independent individual or group work. They have also created a Focus Room which includes Kapp boards (digital flipcharts), Video recording equipment and Nintendo switch, Xbox and PS4 consoles and on top of the usual laptops and large screens.

The library receive feedback from their users through the normal channels including liaison committees. They also use Facebook and Twitter to engage with their users.

Wits Talk

Salome Potgieter, Kedibone Ivory Moagi and Devind Donald Peter

For more information, please read the slideshow from the talk.

HO! HO! HO! from Archaeology Library

Paul JMajewski4 December 2019

Christmas has officially arrived here at the Archaeology Library. We have used our creative skills to decorate our Library space and made it look very Christmassy. We have also received a letter from far, far away in a form of a Christmas poem. As this is the most magical, festive and incredible time of the year and we would like to share this experience with all of you.

We would also like to use this opportunity and wish you ALL to have a cheerful, holly, jolly, and a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year too!

Christmas joy…
Hoping to get my
Reading list finished
In time for the end of the term.
Stopping for a moment, I
Take in the
Merry lights on display
And hope the students and
Staff have had a great term!
– Lewis Rushton

 

“I Heart Consent” campaign launches today

Benjamin G MMeunier27 November 2019

Student Support and Wellbeing and Students’ Union UCL are together launching the ‘I ❤ Consent’ campaign today (27 November).

The campaign encourages students to take a brief sexual consent online training course on Moodle – no longer than 15 minutes to complete. The aim of the training is to help promote healthy and respectful relationships within the UCL community and beyond.

The campaign will be promoted to students via digital screens and messages in myUCL and local communications?

Once students have completed the training, they will receive a ‘I ❤ Consent’ badge on Moodle.

If students come along to the Student Centre Wednesday 27 to Friday 29 November (this week) and show us their badge, they will be able to collect a reusable ‘I ❤ Consent’ cup and a free hot drinks voucher!

The training does cover some difficult topics, so if a student needs support around this, please direct them to the Report + Support website, which has much more information.

Research IT & Data Management drop-ins – autumn 2019 dates

TinaJohnson10 September 2019

The Research Data Management team and Research IT Services jointly run regular drop-in sessions.  These sessions are open to all UCL research staff and students. 

Someone from the Research Data Management team will be there to help you with:

– at all stages of the research lifecycle.

If you’d like to come along to one of our drop-in sessions, please contact the RDM team at lib-researchsupport@ucl.ac.uk with a summary of your research data query beforehand.

Representatives from all of the RITS service areas teams will also be on hand to answer questions or problems related the following areas:

  • research programming
  • workflow automation
  • finding tools and services for your research programmes
  • high performance computing
  • handling large datasets
  • handling personal and GDPR special category data
  • data storage

For RITS queries, there’s no need to book, but the RITS team can make sure there’ll be someone there to help with your problem if you email rits@ucl.ac.uk, ideally two days before the session.

Researchers are encouraged to attend however small their query. The sessions will also be a good opportunity to discuss research funder requirements, find out about services available at UCL and to get support with particular issues you are having.

Upcoming sessions

Date Time Location
Thursday 19 September 10am-12pm Common Ground, Institute of Advanced Studies, South Wing, UCL Main Building (www.ucl.ac.uk/maps/south-wing)
Tuesday 1 October 10am-12pm Common Ground, Institute of Advanced Studies, South Wing, UCL Main Building (www.ucl.ac.uk/maps/south-wing)
Thursday 17 October 10am-12pm Common Ground, Institute of Advanced Studies, South Wing, UCL Main Building (www.ucl.ac.uk/maps/south-wing)
Tuesday 5 November 10am-12pm Common Ground, Institute of Advanced Studies, South Wing, UCL Main Building (www.ucl.ac.uk/maps/south-wing)
Thursday 21 November 10am-12pm Common Ground, Institute of Advanced Studies, South Wing, UCL Main Building (www.ucl.ac.uk/maps/south-wing)
Tuesday 3 December 10am-12pm Common Ground, Institute of Advanced Studies, South Wing, UCL Main Building (www.ucl.ac.uk/maps/south-wing)
Thursday 19 December 10am-12pm Common Ground, Institute of Advanced Studies, South Wing, UCL Main Building (www.ucl.ac.uk/maps/south-wing)

Updated from the original post by Myriam Fellous-Sigrist, dated 11 December 2018

 

Library Facilities and Projects Team Blog: Summer works update

Collette E MLawrence31 July 2019

There will be several projects being carried out during this summer, the details are below, if you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact the Facilities and Projects team james.woodhouse@ucl.ac.uk, phil.watson@ucl.ac.uk or c.lawrence@ucl.ac.uk:

Senate House Hub : Work to refurbish the Senate House Hub will be starting on 12th August 2019. During this time Senate House Hub will be closed, the work will take about 4 weeks to complete and will be re-opening in early September 2019. When the space re-opens it will be a dedicated Post Graduate Research (PGR) and Centre for Doctorial Training (CDT) space. There will be new training room fitted, an increase of study spaces and additional comfortable study spaces.

Graduate Hub: Work will be starting on 12th August 2019 , the work will take about 4 weeks to complete, during this time this space will be closed for the duration of the works, and re-opening early September 2019. This is work is taking place to increase the number of study spaces, have more study focused furniture and a refurbished kitchen and main study rooms.

IOE Entrance:Work is taking place with effect from 12th August 2019, users of the Library will be redirected by additional signage and assistance from Library staff and Security. The project will install new turnstiles with accessible lanes in and out, a new single combined service desk with Library and ISD in one place, Smart Shelves return system and a new self-issue kiosk. This work is due to be completed by early September 2019.

Changing Places Accessibility Toilet – Science Library: work for this will be starting on the 12th August 2019. This will create the first nationally listed Changing Places Toilet at UCL.  The work will take about 7 weeks to complete.

Electrical Infrastructure on Central Campus: Noisy works will be associated with the drilling etc. with installation of cabling containment.  We are not expecting this to generate any vibration issues.

The works are the replacement of the two Transformers associated with the T2 Substation, located at the Ground floor level of Petrie Museum.  All works will be confined to within the substation rooms, but will generate noise during the working week, and will – on the weekend of Transformer delivery – impact the Malet Place road way usage.

Outline programme:

  • 22nd July – 2nd August – Cable / Containment and associated builders works:
  • 3rd/4th August – Transformer # 1 replacement (Load management)
  • 5th August – 6th September – Remaining preparation / modification works:
  • 7th/8th September – Transformer # 2 replacement
  • 9th – 13th September – Final snagging and making good.
  • 13th September – Work completed

Science Library Windows: There will be contractors surveying the windows at various times throughout the Science Library, this is in preparation for work to start in the summer of 2020 to replace them.

Library Customer Service Excellence (CSE) Champions shortlisted for Professional Services Awards 2019

Benjamin G MMeunier25 June 2019

The UCL Professional Services Conference took place yesterday (24 June) to celebrate the contribution staff make to UCL, showcasing the work we do,  working across multiple departments and carrying out various roles. As part of the Office of the Vice-Provost (Research), Library Services makes a strong contribution to the work of professional services across UCL. Library Services was invited to participate in the conference and a number of colleagues attended the event.

A highlight of the conference was the ceremony for the UCL Ways of Working Awards. Over 200 nominations were submitted from across UCL central professional services, Vice-Provost Offices and Faculties. Library Customer Service Excellence (CSE) Champions were shortlisted for an award: ‘Ways of Working – Team Contribution to Achieving our Mission’. In this category, staff nominated colleagues who “are striving towards UCL’s future, demonstrating vision, a sense of ownership and innovation in their work”. The nomination was shortlisted in recognition of the team’s work on Customer Services Excellence workshops, as detailed below. In a very competitive field, the award ultimately went to Student Support and Wellbeing.  Although there were 5 Library Services entries submitted, this was the only shortlisted nomination. Congratulations to the Library CSE Champions: Noreen Beecher, Breege Whiten, Gillian Mackenzie, Vicky Robertson!

CSE Champions: Noreen Beecher, Breege Whiten, Gillian Mackenzie, Vicky Robertson

This team demonstrated excellent collaboration, communication and shared learning in the way that they work together.

In line with the Library Services Strategy 2019-22 and CSE accreditation bid, the Champions initiated, researched, devised, and carried out customer service excellence workshops for fifteen teams, seventy staff, and resulting in sixty-two hours of training. This work was voluntary and included running workshops in evenings and Saturdays to make training inclusive.

About the Customer Service Excellence workshops

Breege, Noreen, Vicky and Gillian volunteered to become Customer Service Excellence (CSE) Champions to change the culture of Library Services, and to help work towards the CSE accreditation as outlined in the Library Services strategy. They created a series of workshops for frontline teams, working collaboratively to research and devise workshops which were initially rolled out to a number of day time teams. After these proved successful they evaluated and re-wrote the workshop to deliver to Evening/Weekend (E/W) frontline teams.

The team moved away from traditional training to engage staff, and so chose to devise practical, discussion based workshops, which included a team presentation on customer service. The workshops included discussions of CSE experiences, and feedback for the Library handbook and Service Charter.

This process has resulted in fifteen teams, seventy staff, and sixty hours of training. The workshops have been inclusive for E/W teams, making training available within their shift patterns. The feedback and enthusiasm has been excellent, and we have started to see a culture change in how we carry out CSE within Library Services. The CSE Champions have also collated a significant amount of feedback, data and evidence for Library Services to use in the CSE accreditation process.

Creating a supportive Customer Service environment 

The work is linked to the Library strategy of achieving CSE accreditation. The CSE Champions have been committed to engaging staff with CSE, across multiple teams, sites and working patterns. The workshops have created a culture change within Library services, and also included transferable skills for staff, from presenting to collaborative project work. Teams have found the presentations enjoyable, as they have been encouraged to use their creativity.

The workshops have brought together the E/W team who wouldn’t usually get the opportunity to work together, enabling them to work collaboratively and build relationships. It has also inspired other Library Staff to provide training for teams which don’t usually work in day time roles. The team have been supportive to other CSE Champions and colleagues, helping others to facilitate, so that those less confident can take part. This training has not only benefitted Library Services, by providing trained staff and evidence for the CSE accreditation, it has also benefitted library users.

Achieving our mission

As voluntary CSE Champions, Vicky, Gillian, Breege and Noreen are clear about why this work is important. The Library Strategy focuses on “ensuring an excellent customer experience”, and the department as a whole has set the goal of achieving CSE accreditation. On an individual level CSE is imperative for the library user. Our CSE affects how our customers use the library, and also the feedback we get through student surveys. This project was immensely ambitious as the work was carried out on top of usual roles, and outside of the team’s own working hours. It involved communication and liaison, to help staff engage with the process. Logistically it was ambitious as it took work organising cover so staff could attend sessions. Throughout the process the four CSE Champions have remained united in their own vision of what they wanted to achieve, and continue to work on CSE with other managers. The team also understand that gaining the accreditation means that they will need to carry on updating their training, to keep staff skills current, to train new staff, and to help with re-validation.

The innovative practice of devising workshops in CSE has enabled us to review our practices for frontline teams. The CSE Champions recognised that there was a need to re-evaluate and open up the discussion, and by rolling out this training they have started teams and individuals on this process of self-reflection, in relation to service provision. Our long term aim is to help achieve CSE accreditation, and to make sure that customer service is consistently excellent. These workshops have ‘kick-started’ this process through staff engagement, discussion and feedback. The workshops have also created evidence which Library Services can use for the accreditation process. While the goal is to achieve accreditation, the long term success will be measured by student feedback.

As Champions, the team took responsibility for delivering CSE engagement and culture change, within the accreditation time frame. They have worked towards this by having a clear remit and framework for the workshops. Communication between the four Champions has been essential, and running workshops in the evenings and weekends has helped to make team members feel included.

The effectiveness has been achieved through dedication, integrity, commitment, support, and by going above and beyond, to ensure all have equal access and a voice in how we shape our customer service.

Peter Dennison, Head of Customer Service, said:

“Well done to Gillian, Vicky, Breege and Noreen! This work illustrates our Library Services values and will make a difference in the Library’s work towards formally securing CSE accreditation.”

Find out more about the UCL Ways of Working: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/human-resources/policies-advice/ways-working.

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

PaulAyris30 May 2019

Increased student support for UCL Library Services

UCL takes student feedback very seriously. We have a range of student surveys, and participate in national surveys, to measure the level of happiness students feel with their UCL experience.

The Student Experience Survey was conducted between 1 March and 10 April 2019 and included all penultimate year undergraduate students. 5,185 students were invited to complete the survey, and 20% responded (n=1037).

Questions are arranged under 9 main headings, one of which is Learning Resources. This general category was the best scoring category out of all 9, with 83% of respondents saying they were satisfied, an increase of 3% over 2018 and an impressive increase of 7% over 2017.

The most important question concerning library resources and services is this one – the library resources (e.g. books, online services and learning spaces) have supported my learning well:

Question 2019 2018 Difference
The library resources (e.g. books, online services and learning spaces) have supported my learning well. 85% 80% +5

This is a great result, showing an increase of 5%. Indeed the result is so good that the score to this question made it the highest scoring question in the whole of the survey. One of the reasons for the increase is, of course, the addition of the Student Centre to the library footprint, with its 1,000 new learning spaces. The Centre had just opened when the survey was held and, already, its impact is being felt in rising levels of student satisfaction.

Many congratulations to all members of UCL Library Services – all of whom have contributed to the reputation of our services and the impact they make on the student body. It’s a great performance and bodes well for the future.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

Wellbeing Champions update: UCL LaSS Library

Sharon AJames16 May 2019

Welcome to the first in a series of blogs that UCL Library Wellbeing Champions will be writing about the work, ideas and events that they have been involved in or created. This update highlights some of the initiatives Jon Siah and I have taken at the UCL Language and Speech Science Library since attending training in early 2018. This involved completing the one day Mental Health First Aid for HE course followed a few weeks later by a day of Health & Wellbeing Champion training. Since then, along with other Library Wellbeing Champions, we have also attended the UCL Wellbeing course Suicide: Spotting the Signs.

Therapy dog Indiana Bones qualifying as a Wellbeing Champion

As Wellbeing Champions we help UCL staff and students by using our listening skills and signposting relevant services or resources. We also regularly take part in Wellbeing meetings and events. For example, Jon and I helped facilitate two ‘Life, Work, Balance’ sessions at the Library Staff Conference in 2018 and I also created posters and distributed resources at the Marketplace Stall during the lunch period.

Jean and Yinka keeping cool at the 2018 Library Conference on Wellbeing

In the weeks beforehand I liaised with Library Finance to acquire funding for fans and then sourced and ordered them for the Marketplace Stall. These were distributed to conference attendees to help with their wellbeing over the course of a long and very hot day.

We also regularly update the LaSS Facebook and Twitter accounts with wellbeing information and have emailed Liblist with resources such as the Sleepio and Silvercloud apps. For LaSS staff, we held a fun Wellbeing Crafternoon at the end of last year using a craft pack ordered from Mind. At this Christmas-themed event, the team were able to relax and catch up with one another while creating handmade decorations for the library.

Photo from the Halloween Wellbeing walk

Another successful event was the Halloween Wellbeing walk arranged by Jon which started at Brunswick Square and ended at Gray’s Inn Walks with a large attendance of nearly 40 people from all over UCL.

Wellbeing Corner at LaSS 

Most recently we have developed a Wellbeing Corner in the LaSS reading room for library users. This features a noticeboard covered in information such as how to manage stress and exams and the contact details of the UCL Student Psychological and Counselling Services and Student Support and Wellbeing. In holders underneath we have placed helpful leaflets, a laminate with advice on how to cope with panic attacks, copies of a local walking map, and coloured pencils and home-made colouring books.

Wellbeing Corner also has a selection of newly purchased self-help books that include guidance on how to deal with anxiety, low self-esteem, OCD, eating disorders, depression and insomnia. We sourced these from a reading list originally created by Teaching & Learning Services for the School of Pharmacy’s Wellbeing section: http://readinglists.ucl.ac.uk/lists/B89CADDC-EEF1-9C7C-2991-E1BEA2F44BC0.html  As well as these books some additional ones were bought and we are hoping this new collection will be helpful for students and staff. Please feel free to come over and have a look at Wellbeing Corner and borrow the books.

At the moment LaSS Library is involved in the Wellbeing Steps Challenge despite our team being called (accurately in my case!) ‘On Our LaSS Legs’. If you’re taking part I hope you’re enjoying it and a big thank you to Laurie McNamee for doing the organising.

For those interested in reading more about the UCL Wellbeing Champion role please go to: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/human-resources/health-wellbeing/wellbeingucl/get-involved/become-wellbeing-champion

Customer Service Excellence Accreditation

Peter JDennison8 May 2019

Over the past 18 months work has been going on behind the scenes in preparation for our application for the Customer Service Excellence Standard.  Customer Service Excellence (CSE) is designed to operate on three distinct levels:

1. As a driver of continuous improvement.
2. As a skills development tool.
3. As an independent validation of achievement.
CSE Standard: Cabinet Office, 2010

 

 

The Standard is awarded by the Cabinet Office and consists of 57 separate criteria which we have to demonstrate that we meet. This is done by the submission of documentary evidence to an Assessor who will review the evidence as part of the Accreditation process. The other part of the assessment will be a two-day visit by the Assessor on Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 June. The visit will consist of a combination of meetings with Library staff, students, and other UCL departments who work with us as well as observation and presentations by staff.

A Pre-Assessment meeting was held with the Assessor on 13 March which was really helpful in identifying areas which required further work and additional documentation. Our formal submission was sent to the Assessor on 8 May and we will find out in the next couple of weeks which areas our Assessor will want to focus on when he visits.

I will be working with Kate Cheney to organise the two-day visit by the Assessor. The first day will focus on our larger sites and will include a visit to the Student Centre. The second day will focus on biomedical sites. We will be given an informal indication by the Assessor at the end of the second day as to how we have performed. Thank you to all colleagues who have contributed to the process so far and to those who will be meeting the Assessor during his visit.

New menu for public library website

RobertDrinkall30 April 2019

You may have spotted recently that the public library website has a new left hand menu.

This is because ISD Digital Presence has redesigned the menu for its Drupal content management system. The library website uses Drupal, and so has adopted the new menu automatically.

The main difference between the old and new menus, and the reasons for the change, is explained here by Digital Presence:

The previous scheme of displaying parent pages, sibling pages (pages at the same level) and children pages (sub-pages) in one long list on the left menu created confusion and very poor usability. The menu view on mobile was especially problematic.

The new menu displays children pages at the top level with any related sub-pages underneath. On mobile, a breadcrumb trail now appears below the corporate masthead.

To see a visual illustration of how the new menu changes as you navigate through the opening hours pages (on a PC), please see the image below.

When the new menu was introduced, the Web Team had to make various adjustments to make it display correctly for our site. We think it’s configured in the right way now, but if you do spot anything around it which doesn’t look right, please let us know via lib-websupport@ucl.ac.uk

Image showing new Drupal menu and sub menus for public library website

Example of new Drupal menu and sub menus on public library website